Sunday, April 3, 2011
Yoga - there's nothing swift about it. Yoga is about slowing down and breaking pieces into pieces and more pieces, about gathering those pieces back up and molding them into something a teensy bit more bendy than the original form. Take backbends. When I was twelve, I spent most of the day in a backbend. Or upside down. Check out our family photos from that time of my life - I'm the one showing off her underwear. Now that I am Grown Up, upside down is called an inversion and backbends take an hour and a half to accomplish. And even then, it's not exactly an accomplishment because it's yoga. Instead it's another step on the journey towards... well, I don't even know. I think I'm not supposed to know. I think yoga is about the unknowing, the trusting, the foggy future, the present moment. I'm not complaining. I love yoga. I LOVE yoga. My once-a-week yoga class is almost as sacred as my morning coffee. I've yet to bleed much yoga into my daily life, only because of the danger: bend down, bend over, bend back, and inevitably a child will leap onto your resulting apex and that. hurts. So every Sunday, well, most Sundays, I leave the men lapping up their weekend allotment of television and head to the yoga studio where for a short time I am able to think of nothing. When thoughts burst through my Wall of Focus I delightedly smoosh them with my laser gaze. Nobody begs me for an extra ration of cinnamon graham crackers, nobody needs my help in the bathroom. And that's true nirvana.
Yoga may not be swift but my six year old is. "I did backbends in yoga today," I tell him. "Can I do one?" he answers. "Try." And he does. He lays down, plants his feet, his hands, and like swift helium rises up toward the sky. Sigh. "Namaste," I say to him. And we head out for a walk in the shock of springtime air. He flies away on his bike.
M and I have been sharing a car ever since the event that we have now named Almost Running into a Snowplow: Choosing to Drive into a Snowbank Instead. Tuesday morning we were out running “before work” errands when I spotted a pheasant out of the corner of my eye. He was standing proud against a backdrop of pines and practically asking, begging to be photographed. At my insistence M quickly swung the car around, using all four wheels, though it almost felt like a two- wheeled maneuver. He brought me back around to where I had seen the bird. I grabbed my camera and stealthily headed out to capture his image. The bird was having none of it. I followed him as he walked, then ran at a road runner like place. Finally he used his wings to go a short distance. I crept along hoping get close enough for a shot. In the end I chased him all the way around the office complex. I tried to remain focused, shooing the image of office workers gravitating in droves to the windows to see the crazy lady stalking a pheasant with her camera. I lost my friend the pheasant in the tall grass and finally admitted defeat before heading back to the car. I hopped in and admitted to getting at least one photo which would be perfect for this week’s word. M chimed in with his guess of what it might be: Late for Work, (though he admitted that was three words, so probably not… )
Swift is not a word I have given much thought to in recent memory, given my study of slow media I seem to be moving in the opposite direction. Yet everywhere I went this week, there it was. Funny how you completely pass something by until you actually start to seek it out. Parked in the lot at the general store a truck pulled up next to us. It was covered in mud, as will be the fate of many cars in the coming weeks. I could barely make out the letters of the business name painted on the side, but peering closer I saw: S-W-I-F-T. I made a presentation on Wednesday regarding the topic of Early Literacy and was treated at the end to listen to a bit of the weekly read-aloud. The book was “Trumpet of the Swan” and they had just reached the part where the babies are learning how to fly. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine their father describing the process. The little cygnets were assured that it would be swift, for how else would swans fly?
Thinking about this collection of words recently, I have come to realize that capturing these images each week is my way of making these day-to-day experiences tangible. It’s proof that I lived, breathed, laughed and loved during the past year. To me it says these fleeting days, months, seasons matter. They are what make up a life. If anything I have learned that time is constantly moving and slows for no one, even when we try to stop it and live extra in a certain moment. As Jane Austen’s Isabella says in “Emma,” ‘She had nothing to wish otherwise, but that the days did not pass so swiftly.’